I’ve been elbow-deep in this potato salad before. I kid you not.
There’s a story that’s circulated around my family for years — and that story involves a baby me, sitting in the car seat on the way home from my grandparents’ house for Easter when my parents suddenly smelled something… onion-y. And potato-y. And when they turned around they found me, with both of my baby hands stashed in the Tupperware containing my Oma’s creamy potato salad, munching away on the leftovers. It was then they knew I’d grow up to a be a food blogger.
Just kidding. But it did solidify for me a lifelong love of this potato salad.
This potato salad has been gracing the Easter dinner table at my great grandparents’ and grandparents’ houses for years — well, since I was a baby, obviously. I’m pretty sure the recipe hasn’t changed even one. tiny. bit. since its inception. Because why fix what’s not broken, amiright? And this potato salad, simple as it may be, is perfection. Whenever Easter draws nigh, or it’s potluck/picnic/potato salad season, I start getting major cravings for it. And no other version can quite satiate my appetite.
I’m sure a lot of those cravings are coupled with nostalgia, but I happen to know this recipe has gained devoted fans who didn’t grow up with it — take my husband, for example. Though the man loves a good frozen pizza and a trip to the golden arches, he is a sharp critic of the following: cucumber sandwiches, tuna salad, deviled eggs and potato salad. No, I can’t explain this. But to him, this potato salad passes the test.
And I think I know why: Because it has two special ingredients. The first? White vinegar. Just a tablespoon or so is all you need, and it gives the salad just enough tang to make it interesting. The second ingredient? Sugar. Just a half-teaspoon so you don’t even taste it, and yet it’s what my grandmother says makes the dish because it brings out all of the flavors. I completely concur.
Both my great grandmother (Oma, as we called her) and my grandmother have been topping their potato salads with sliced hard-boiled eggs forever and ever, so I decided to follow suit. I also added some chopped hard-boiled egg whites to the salad itself, which they didn’t always do but I like the addition. My grandmother also said it tastes great with chopped celery, pickles or fresh herbs mixed in, but I don’t recall ever eating it with any of those ingredients so I left them out — but jazz it up as you will. Just maybe don’t tell my husband, lest you encounter his potato salad judgement.
Oh, and another thing: My grandma has always served her potato salad freshly made, but I’ll tell you another secret — it’s even better the next day, when the flavors have had a chance to sit a spell and settle down together. It’s good enough to consider grabbing fistfuls from the Tupperware all over again.
Seriously, though. That spoon is just for show.
- 2 lbs red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 4 hard-boiled eggs
- ½ sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup light sour cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- Salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cut potatoes and boil 5 to 10 minutes until just barely fork-tender. Drain and cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, peel hard-boiled eggs and use a very sharp knife to slice eggs. Reserve slices with yolks in the center; chop remaining egg whites.
- In a large bowl, combine potatoes, chopped egg whites, chopped onion, mayonnaise, sour cream, 1 tablespoon vinegar (or 2 tablespoons, if desired), sugar and salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish top with sliced eggs. Serve immediately, or chill at least 2 hours before serving.